Shutout Smith: Seymour keeper heads boys soccer all-county team

Seymour’s Will Smith has been the starting varsity keeper on the boys soccer team ever since his freshman season.

Now a senior, Smith just wrapped up his final season in which he was Hoosiers Hills all-conference first team, all-district first team and all-state second team. He was also named the team’s co-most valuable player along with Sam Chandler.

Smith now has one more accolade to add to the list, and that’s The Tribune’s Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Smith faced 98 shots on goal this season, and he came away with 80 saves, which is a save percentage of 80 percent.

Across the 16 matches played this season, Smith was in net for 1,270 minutes. He had an average of five saves per game, and in Seymour’s seven wins this season, six of them featured shutouts from Smith.

“I just love being a goalkeeper,” he said. “I love stopping shots, that’s what I love to do. I do it still because it’s like my favorite thing in the world.”

Smith started playing soccer in preschool. He played baseball, too, so he felt he had good hand-eye coordination, which is why he felt comfortable in goal.

He remembers his first diving save at around 9 or 10 years old playing for the Seymour Cyclones. It’s a save he could make in his sleep today, but it was a big deal when it happened.

“Now, I’d be like that’s easy, but back then, that was like my first diving save and it felt really good,” Smith said.

Smith remembers battling it out with former teammate Donovyn Thomas heading into his freshman season on who would start in goal.

Once Thomas was moved to striker, the position belonged to Smith for the next four years.

“I’m not going to lie, it was really nerve wracking, especially at the beginning,” he said. “During the summer, we went to the UIndy camp, and playing against some of the big guys as a freshman was pretty intimate. I remember being pretty timid to come out on high balls.”

By the time this season came around, there was no fear to Smith’s approach in the back of the net.

“Just the cleanliness of holding the ball,” Smith said of his improvements. “I didn’t drop any balls. It was just a lot cleaner by the time I finished high school.”

He also prided himself on being a leader, instructing his backline on where to be at all times.

“At some times, I thought I talked a little too much,” he joked

Seymour finished the seasons 7-8-1 and 3-2-1 in the HHC, which was good enough for a third place finish.

After getting a clean sheet against Bedford North Lawrence in sectionals, Smith helped his team advanced to the sectional title game for the first time since 2015.

The senior keeper enjoyed seeing his team grow as the season went on.

“The end of it was kind of like bitter-sweet, but during the season it felt good to be a leader and see the team grow,” Smith said. “By the end of the season, the team was really connected. I felt like there were no outsiders. Sometimes guys don’t take you under their wing, but I felt like me and the other seniors this year really tried to make a point to include everybody.”

Smith is currently playing club soccer with the Columbus Express, and after he graduates from Seymour High School, he hopes his soccer career isn’t over.

Just this past weekend, Smith took a visit to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Dayton Beach, Florida.

“I want to pursue aviation,” he said. “My ultimate life goal is to be an airline pilot, and I’ll see if I can play some soccer along the way.”

Remaining members of the all-county boys soccer team

Sam Chandler (Sr.), Seymour: HHC first team, all-district second team, team MVP/midfielder of the year.

Brody Unterseher (Sr.), Seymour: HHC first team, team co-defender of the year.

Prader Kiel (Sr.), Trinity Lutheran: Co-team MVP.

Jaret Dominguez (Jr.), Seymour: HHC honorable mention.

Andrew Bell (Sr.), Trinity Lutheran: Co-team MVP.

Jake Loebker (Sun.), Seymour: HHC honorable mention.

David Polbito (Jr.), Seymour: HHC honorable mention.

Peyton Pollert (Jr.), Trinity Lutheran: team goalie.

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